To the editor:
One day I woke up to find out that I was eating zombie food. It tasted like food, but that was just a chemical slight-of-hand played on my brain. It looked edible but they can reproduce any colour of the spectrum, including Nature’s hues. It even smelled good, but I used to think the smell of a fresh shower curtain was nice. The look, taste and texture were all the workings of amazing chemical formulas. So what was I eating if it wasn’t food?
For starters, the food companies take their food and wring out as much product and profit as efficiently possible. Nutrition takes a seat as the active ingredients in whole food are also the main cause of decay. The remedy is to kill off the life support that can potentially spoil their profit margin. These obstructions are the whole reason behind why I eat. The nutrients which cause rot are the nutrients we need.
So why are they destroying the healthiness? The short answer is: To extend its shelf life. Convenience is a process for marketing the product, not the wellbeing of the consumer.
And yet, the food industry must appease and convince us to buy their affordable product. Welcome to the world of synthetic enrichment. All those benefits they leached from the whole food have a chemical formula. I was fortifying my health with their made-up vitamins, omega 3s and other such enhancements.
Like Frankenstein’s laboratory, the undead components of food are re-invigorated with an electric jolt of imitation fortification, giving processed food the illusion of benefits. Did I truly benefit? I can’t see how. With the whole food beaten to within a gasp of its life, dismantled, and then reassembled to act like food, I remember something about being what I eat.
Industry standards demand, unlike Nature, that all their junk look alike. They demand consistent products from our toys to our food, and then trained us to expect it back from them. Food scientists delved into chemicals like a spice rack to accomplish this. One layer must stay in place; this colour has the best test market; taste, look, smell and texture had to be identical from one shipment to the next. Artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, emulsifiers, and an endless array of laboratory leftovers are another multi-billion dollar industry layered atop the food companies. As my food lunged for longevity, the implications to my health became questionable.
I figured that there were authorities who protected my health. The United States has the Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture, while we have the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to regulate what gets sold as food and pharmaceuticals. However, the funding for these agencies is a mere pebble compared to the food industry’s avalanche of lawyers and lobbyists. How safe is our food when the claims on the labels are lobbied and bought off by the corporations?
As they weakened the standards, my safety became but a thin veil protecting me from the tempestuous assault of capitalist growth. A side effect being the risk this diet exposes to our health. This well-calculated economic benefit tethers the ever-growing food industry to Big Pharma. The latter has a fix to help us remain functional throughout all the self-inflicted damage we do.
If these two industries ever stopped growing, it could have disastrous implications on the global economy. Our best chance to stay healthy is to grow our own food; an act that goes against economics on par with a lack of patriotism. These industries’ greatest fear is that we stop buying their products and start getting healthy. How concerned should we be for an economy that is dependent on our illness and disease?
The benefits drained from our food cannot be equally synthesized in the laboratory. They can’t reproduce life in the fashion that Nature can. Our bodies require bionutrients, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins from whole food. The body and mind require protein, cholesterol, fiber, carbohydrates and fat to function. The only proper access to these, in a way that the body understands, is to consume organic produce and grass-fed meat.
True food equals true health, and no chemical crutch can improve this function. Our health should not be something that we pursue (and is always just beyond our reach), it is something we should embrace and nurture. In return, our health rewards us.
Darrin LR Fiddler.